Thursday, July 19, 2018

Advice For My Great Grandchildren

Look to the future, but remember the past.
Your horizons are endless, if only you allow yourself to dream.  Those dreams rest upon the people and places who came before you.  You are one in a long line of strong and powerful women and men.  They crossed oceans to find a better life, fleeing famine and religious intolerance, looking for opportunities, embracing the new and challenging the old.  You carry many strands - German and Polish and Jewish and Catholic, short and tall, athletic and intellectual, teachers and pastors, Iowans and New Yorkers - and some piece of each of them resides within your soul.  Honor what came before and use it to inform your choices as you move forward.

The world is your oyster.  Treat it with care.
We have only one planet, and you are its steward.  Practice kindness and respect differences, for we are all on this tiny orb, circling the sun, together.  Consider the least among us, and use your privilege, your gifts, your strength, your enthusiasm, your wisdom, your talents to insure that Gaia and her inhabitants grow and prosper.  You are stronger and more powerful than you imagine. 

Your voice is a tool to be used wisely.
Do not hide your light under a basket. Use your words to make a positive difference.  Listen to the other side, be influenced by facts and nuance, be thoughtful if you disagree.  Those opposing you are not The Other; they reflect another viewpoint but still share the same humanity.  Try very, very hard to see through the discomfort and the disconnect your differences reflect.  We are all in this together.  Yelling only makes things worse.  But do not be silent.  If you see something, say something - and own the consequences of your position.  Nothing will change if you don't speak up.

Some basics:

And, the most important thing of all to remember is this:

Tomorrow is not promised.
All the opportunities, all the adventures, all the heartbreak, and all the joy - they are there, lying in wait, ready to grab you, unexpectedly, surprisingly, wonderfully, terribly.  Going to the grocery store can be a stop for supplies, a chance to greet a Congresswoman, or a life changing perforation of what you had planned for the rest of the afternoon.  Be aware, awake, available.  They each have something to teach you, even if the lesson hurts as you absorb it.  Waste none of your days, for each one is a gift. 


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